Learn How To Stop Pulling the Golf Ball With these 8 Tips

Golf can be a simple game when you are hitting fairways and greens – we all want to live our “golf life” in the short grass.

For some golfers, however, this can be hard to achieve if you struggle with pulling golf shots. It is difficult to hit your target when your shot never starts on line.

We’re here to help you learn how to stop pulling the golf ball. The good news is that it could be as simple as fixing your setup or you may need a minor swing change.

Below we’ll discuss everything you need to know to stop pulling golf shots.

Starting with an explanation of the 3 most common pull golf shots, we’ll then cover 8 simple tips for how to check your setup and analyze your golf swing to avoid pulling the golf ball.

Let’s get started.

How to stop pulling the golf ball cover photo - male golfer in red polo preparing to take his swing.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Types Of Pull Golf Shots

Before we discuss how to stop pulling the golf ball, let’s talk about how this shot impacts your scorecard.

Not all pull golf shots are the same. Some you can learn to play while others are true “round killers”.

A: “The Good” – A Pull Cut

If you consistently hit a pull cut, you may not want to learn how to stop pulling the golf ball. This shot is sometimes used by professionals and scratch golfers.

From the perspective of a right-handed golfer, you pull the ball to the left and it cuts/fades back to your target.

If you pull your approach shot 10 yards left of the flag, but it curves 10 yards to the right – you have just hit a great shot.

We suspect if you are reading this post, your pulled golf shots don’t fit in this category.

Arm shot of male golfer driving a golf cart.

B: “The Bad” – A Pull Straight Ball

This is the most common occurrence when golfers are pulling golf shots. The ball starts left of the target but doesn’t curve.

The damage to your score depends on the size of the pull. If you are pulling the ball 5 yards left, you can play this shot.

You still might want to learn how to stop pulling the golf ball, but you can survive this shot.

The problem is if your pull is 20+ yards left. This will cause you to miss fairways and miss greens.

You can’t consistently play well with a significant pull straight shot.

C: “The Ugly” – A Pull Hook

This shot can get ugly fast. You pull it left and it hooks even farther left.

If you tend to hit this shot you need to learn how to stop pulling the golf ball now. Don’t delay!

The pull hook hurts in a couple of different ways.

Leg shot of female golfer lining up golf balls to practise her swing.

First, it starts left and keeps going left. Second, this type of golf will travel farther than you expect.

You put these two things together and this golf miss is almost impossible to play. You will hit balls out of bounds with a “pull hook”.

Time to learn how to stop pulling the golf ball.

3 Set-up Ideas To Learn How To Stop Pulling The Golf Ball

Pulling golf shots may have nothing to do with your golf swing. It could be something you are doing before even taking the club back.

You may be able to tweak your setup and learn how to stop pulling the golf ball.

#1: Where Are You Aiming?

Sometimes the simplest answer is the correct one. Is it possible you aren’t pulling the golf ball left, but you are aiming left?

Here is a quick way to check your alignment. You will need a golf aiming stick or a second club.

Male and female golfer high-five at the hole, smiling.

Pick a target on the driving range and prepare to hit a shot towards this target. Now place the golf aiming stick or 2nd club down in front of your feet.

Step back and look where the stick/club is aiming. Ideally, they should be ~10 yards left of your target.

If it is pointing closer to 30 yards left of your target you might have more of an aiming problem than a pulling problem!

#2: Your Grip Might Be Too Strong

When we say “strong grip” we don’t mean how hard you squeeze the club, but instead how your hands are placed on the grip.

A golf grip that is too strong will cause the clubface to be closed at impact and produce a pulled golf shot.

The best way to check your grip is to “count your knuckles”.

Grab a club and set up like you are about to hit a shot. How many knuckles can you see on your left hand (right-handed players)?

Young female golfer learning how to stop pulling the golf ball as she prepares to take her swing.

If you can see 3 or 4 knuckles your grip may be too strong. Adjust your hand until you can see 2 knuckles and you might have just learned how to stop pulling the golf ball.

Related article: Strong Golf Grip vs Weak Golf Grip: Uses, Benefits And More

#3: Poor Ball Position

Our final setup idea on how to stop pulling the golf ball is related to your ball position. Where is the ball located in relation to your feet?

For a right-handed golfer, your left foot is considered the front of your stance, and the right foot is the back.

If you struggle with pulling golf shots the golf ball may be too far forward.

The next time you practice at the driving range try moving the ball back in your stance. This might eliminate or reduce your pulls.

Male golfer holds taylormade golf ball close to the camera, with his hand in shot only.

3 Swing Tips To Learn How To Stop Pulling The Golf Ball

If our 3 setup ideas didn’t help you might need to tweak your golf swing to learn how to stop pulling the golf ball.

#1: Low And Slow

Pulling golf shots can be caused by the very beginning of your golf swing. Your initial takeaway can put you in a position that is hard to recover from.

A quick fix can be the “low and slow” swing thought. It is quite simple.

Start your swing by taking the club back slowly and low to the ground.

Most amateur golfers could use a slower tempo on their backswing and keeping the club low to the ground will prevent you from jerking it to the inside.

Related Article: Golf Swing Tempo Guide: 5 Cues To Perfect It

Leg shot of male golfer preparing to take his swing.

#2: Drop The Club From The Top

The most common reason why golfers pull golf shots is that they “cover over the top” during the transition of their golf swing.

To learn how to stop pulling the golf ball feel like you drop the club from the top of your swing.

We don’t mean let go of the club, but let your lower body do the work.

Instead of using your arms to swing, clear your hips and “kick through” with your legs. Let the club and your arms follow.

Not only could this cure the pulls, but it will also help you develop lag in your golf swing.

#3: Investigate Your Divots

When you hit an iron shot, we all know that you make a divot, but did you know that this divot can tell you a lot about the shot you just hit?

If you want to understand how to stop pulling the golf ball you need to investigate your divots.

Which direction do they point? How far off target are they?

If your divot is pointing directly at your target, your swing didn’t cause the pull. Go back to our “setup ideas” section and work on those items.

Father observes teenage son practicing his putting.

On the other hand, a divot pointing to the left (right-handed golfer) means your swing is the problem.

Use your divots to diagnose, identify, and fix the reason you are pulling golf shots.

Related Article: Golf Divots: FAQ + 3 Things They Tell You About Your Swing

How To Avoid Pulling Your Putts

We can’t talk about learning how to stop pulling the golf ball without covering your short game.

Pulling putts can make it nearly impossible to play well. If you miss short putts (less than 5 feet) you are either pulling them or have the yips. Both can ruin your score.

We have two things for you to try to learn how to stop pulling the golf ball on the greens.

#1: Don’t Choke Your Putter

Pay attention to your grip pressure when putting. You want to control the club, but you don’t want to squeeze it.

Spend some time on the practice green putting with a loose grip. You may find your putting stroke improves.

Less pulls mean more putts will find the bottom of the cup.

Young girl observes shot after her swing.

#2: Accelerate Through Impact

Do you ever feel nervous over short putts? It is normal to be tense when trying to make an important putt.

Here is the problem. If you make a nervous stroke you are likely to decelerate at impact. This will shut the putter’s face and you will pull the ball left of your target.

You can overcome your nerves. Take a deep breath. Focus on your line and make an aggressive stroke.

Keep your head down and listen for the sound of your golf ball hitting the bottom of the cup. The best sound in golf!

Repetition is the key to learning how to stop pulling the golf ball. Develop a practice routine and commit to your golf game.

Before you know it your scores and golf handicap will start dropping.

Woman of a golf course facing away from the camera watching others play.

Start Posting Your Scores Today And Establish A Golf Handicap

Photo of author
Ray has been playing golf for 35+ years, including being part of his High School and College golf teams. While he still enjoys playing in amateur tournaments, Ray now focuses on growing the game of golf through teaching and coaching. He has two sons that both play golf competitively and loves spending time watching them compete. Ray continues to play in local amateur golf events and currently has a +1 handicap.

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